Centennial Celebration of Uttarakhandi Theatre
The Celebration of Hundred Years of Uttarakhandi Theatre ,with a theatre fest , was organised at the Little Theatre Group, Copernicus Marg. The event was in collaboration with Abhivyakti Karyashala. The theatrical expressions aimed to capture the essence of various aspects of the Abode of Gods or Devbhoomi, Uttarakhand. It was a novel experience to watch Uttarakhand Theatre. The program started with the customary lighting of the lamp. An invocation to the divine to dispel all darkness and let the wisdom prevail. There was screening of a documentary on the 100 years of Uttarakhand Theatre. Was amazed to see that Kalidas's Meghdoot, KumarSambhav which have the choicest description of nature, of river Mandakini find their origin in Uttarakhand. Almora the cultural capital of Uttarakhand has stalwarts like Uday Shankar, Ravi Shankar, Zohra Sehgal adorning its cultural space. Gobind Vallabh Pant, Sumitra Nandan Pant chose to pen their profound thoughts only here. It spoke of many famous personalities attached to the Uttarakhand Theatre and how instrumental they have been in shaping the mindset of milieu.The documentary also highlighted the various Theatre forms practiced and the various schools that sprung up in the process. The most popular and interesting have been Rammam style, as the religious and spiritually inclined people of Uttarakhand draw inspiration from it. The Mukhauta Shailey brings forth colourful vibrant masks donned while performing. Theatrical performances are largely manifestations of ancient rituals and also to celebrate various seasons. There was a huge influence of the Parsi style on the Uttarakhand Theatre around the 1940s. The documentary was a wonderful insight into the Theatre life of Uttarakhand.Then the play "December 1971 ka ek din” began with the set depicting a simple quaint Kumaoni rural home. The play was written by Dr. Harisuman Bisht and directed by Md. Ashraf. Set in the backdrop of the Indo Pak war of 1971, when a solider Nageshwar has to report to war front immediately.His family back home keeps waiting for him and is hopeful that he will return one day. The lecherous moneylender keeps eyeing the solider’s young beautiful wife Anandi who could sense his evil plans. The moneylender teams up with villagers and defames Anandi and the father in law. Anandi strongly stands/speaks for herself and drives everyone out of her home. It speaks of the bitter sweet aspects of life of simpletons. How realities of life impinge upon the world of Nageshwar's family. Anandi often slips into a slumber reminiscing feel of true love between herself and her husband, obstacles which now thwart the family 's happiness as her husband is battling on the field. The play correctly and carefully chooses to stay away from the happily-ever-after ending. Nageshwar loses his life leaving Anandi to wade a long lone battle in a uncompassionate society. There are tears of loss and hope at the end. The standout performance of the cast deserves a big applause.A 10 minute break was followed by another play, Chal Ab Laut Chalein. Urging people away from their home(land)s to come back. With optimism dipping down youth choose to stay away from their homes because of lack of employment and educational opportunities. It was a wonderful attempt to pinpoint the national sentiment in general where we all wish to go away someplace else to escape problems. The main attraction was the much awaited play , Chalchalata Pyar directed by Bollywood fame Himani Shivpuri, was staged on the second day of the event.
It was a worthy attempt to present the Theatre prowess of Uttarakhand. It was a delightful extravaganza to listen to Kumaoni music and song, see the bright colourful costumes and jewellery which hill woman wear. It evokes love for the hills and its people.